This old photograph shows the remains of an Emu on 'Cambo Cambo' property, Moonie River district, North West New South Wales, in 1911. The associated notes state: 'death being due to one leg getting caught in the wires of a wire fence while the bird was getting through. The unfortunate bird could not get away from this grip-it died no doubt of thirst and starvation. It will be noticed that the leg resting on the ground has made a hole underneath, through the bird kicking and struggling in its efforts to escape.'

Photo by Sidney Jackson, 1873-1946, courtesy of the National Library of Australia.




When a bird flies it does not look directly ahead of itself, but instead will scan the area a distance off. In nature, obstacles such as trees are quite obvious to a flying bird, while the thin strands of a barbed wire fence are not so obvious. Owls and other birds often fly into the top strands of these types of fences and are then caught in the barbs, unable to struggle free, and so frequently dying slow, agonising deaths. The Birds of Prey Working Group is investigating various methods to make fences more visible, in particular to nocturnal birds, and this will prevent countless unnecessary deaths'. Endangered Wildlife Trust website, South Africa.

Andrew Ley and Brian Tynan published a paper in Australian Field Ornithology in 2008, Birds in Fences.doc Click on the title for a cop of their paper. Twenty-seven individuals of 18 bird species were recorded as casualties of collisions with fences in Diamantina National Park, western Queensland, between 1996 and 2008. Nine of the 18 species were nocturnal or mainly so. Included in their list is the record of a contemporary (September 2006) specimen of the nationally endangered Night Parrot Pezoporus occidentalis. They make the point that most wildlife casualties in fences probably go unobserved and unreported so it is difficult to assess the full extent of the problem.

These species have been reported as victims of barbed wire fencing:
Kookaburra, Galah, Rock Dove, Australian Magpie, White-winged Chough, Metallic Starling
Royal Spoonbill, Silver Gull, White-faced Heron, White-necked (Pacific) Heron, Short-tailed shearwater, Australian Pelican, Nankeen Night Hern, Buff-banded Rail, Little Button-quail, Red-chested Button-quail, Lathams Snipe, Bush Stone-curlew, Black-fronted Dotterel, Masked lapwing, Rainbow Lorikeet, Red-rumped parrot, Sulphut-crested Cockatoo, Little Corella, Night Parrot, Bourke's Parrot, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Nankeen Kestrel, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Australian Hobby, Chestnut-breated Quail-thrush, Common Bronzewing, Flock Bronzewing, Crested Pidgeon, Inland Dotterel, Galah, Australian Ringneck, Budgerigar, Zebra Finch, Southern Boobook, Barn Owl, Grass Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Australian Owlet-nightjar, Masked Owl
Sarus Crane, Brolga, Australian Bustard, Southern Cassowary

Photo: Jenny Maclean Barking Owl

Photo: Jack Shield Kookaburra

Photo: The Cairns Post Metallic Starling

(see story in media section of website)

Photos: Karen Ringland. This tawny frogmouth was brought to the vet with the barbed wire still tightly twisted in skin at the back of its neck. It died 4 days later

Photo: Helen Taylor Black-shouldered kite

Photo: Helen Taylor Barn Owl

Photo: Janet Robino Quail

Photo: Tina Ball Collared kingfisher

Photo: Karin Traub

Photo: Karin Traub Same owl with cetrigen on its injuries

Photos: Ashleigh Johnson Ibis